EU enlargement by 2030 is doable, but only if the candidate countries and the European Union itself redouble their efforts, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi told Euractiv in Brussels.
In response to a question from the news portal, the Hungarian EU Commissioner said that enlargement is a question of will and delivery. The EU, the Western Balkan countries, and the other three candidate states, Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, must deliver.
In October, when the European Commission is expected to present its annual report on the progress of the countries waiting for accession, the Brussels group will come forward with “substantive proposals” on enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi pointed out. According to him, the commission is ready to come up with bold proposals and new ideas.
The proposals include, in particular, the so-called growth plan mentioned by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in May, with which the EU wants to increase investment in the Western Balkans, while at the same time mitigating the economic impact of the war in Ukraine.
The plan would include reforms on the rule of law, democracy, economy and integration, improve the investment climate and provide the necessary financial support to close the development gap. The measures would also include an increase in EU pre-accession funds and ensure early access to a range of EU policies.
It will be much easier to integrate these countries if they are much more developed than now and in the previous cases of enlargement,”
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó also highlighted the importance of EU enlargement recently at the Bled Strategic Forum. He said that the European Union is not in good shape today and has weakened in recent years in the areas of security, economy, and energy security. However, improvements could be made in all these areas with enlargement, since the EU would be bigger and stronger with the Western Balkans. Szijjártó stressed that the European Union currently needs the Western Balkans more than vice versa, and that is why progress in the accession process cannot be delayed.
Featured photo via Twitter/Oliver Várhelyi